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Portables (Apple) Apple Hardware

Apple Launches Repair Program For Longstanding 2011 MacBook Pro GPU Problems 99

AmiMoJo writes: Apple has just launched a MacBook Pro Repair Extension Program for Video Issues to provide out-of-warranty repairs for MacBook Pros and Retina MacBook Pros sold between February of 2011 and December of 2013. Symptoms of affected computers include "distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen," "no video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on," and unexpected restarts. Some users have been complaining about 2011 MacBook Pro GPU issues since shortly after the systems launched. Those complaints continued for well over three years—outside of the warranty window even if you bought AppleCare, at least if you bought the systems at launch—and were more recently the cause of a class-action lawsuit.
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Apple Launches Repair Program For Longstanding 2011 MacBook Pro GPU Problems

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  • heh heh (Score:5, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday February 20, 2015 @08:58AM (#49094051) Homepage Journal

    Those complaints continued for well over three yearsâ"outside of the warranty window even if you bought AppleCare,

    That's like Sears. Bought a window AC from them, failed inside the 1 year warranty. They drug the replacement process out for so long that the warranty expired, then they tried to claim that since it was now out of warranty, they had deleted all information on the claim and they wouldn't cover it. Took many hours on the phone to even get the unit replaced with an inferior model, spent says in over-100 temps with no AC as a result. Now I sincerely hope Sears goes out of business. Petty? Too bad.

    If you make your warranty claim before the period expires, though, they don't have a legal leg to stand on.

    This is not Apple's first epic hardware failure. The one by which I've been personally bitten is the B&W G3 data corruption bug. Rev.1 used a CMD IDE controller which sucked, and which Apple implemented very poorly. Works okay in the Ultrasparc 5, causes data corruption with most UDMA devices in the B&W G3 mac. Apple's solution was either spend more money on FWB toolkit (a third party utility) or spend more money on a PCI IDE card, which due to the apple tax was $100 back when exactly the same card with a different rom was sold for the PC for $20. No logic board replacements. When they folded the old TechInfo Library (TIL) into the modern Knowledge Base (KB) they got both older and newer articles than the one in which they described this problem, because Apple would like you to forget both that they make crap and that they will leave you twisting in the wind even when they know it was their fault and their products are not suitable for their described purpose.

    Apple is different from other OEMs only in that it is sleazier.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      My parents had the same customer service problem with a TV they bought from Sears back in the 70's. They've held that grudge for decades. Sears may have sold some quality tools at one point, but it's not the first time I've heard complaints about their cheap consumer appliances and poor customer service. They're reaping the rewards of that now. It's difficult to suck more than Best Buy, but they're making a pretty good go of it.

      I had an Apple desktop machine back in the mid 00s. Actually still have -- I'd

      • Sears may have sold some quality tools at one point

        They still do, but they don't carry most of them in the stores. They still make the ratchets that are like 5 degrees per click or whatever the nice ones are, but you have to order them. They don't cost more, they just don't have them in. Presumably they aren't quite as durable, and cost slightly more to make, so why stock them if you can't make as much profit? And so it goes. Buh-bye Sears, you won't be missed now that my local auto parts store and harbor freight both offer lifetime warranties on hand tools

    • by tibit ( 1762298 )

      Holy shit, the CMD controllers! You brought back some bad memories. /shudder

    • I have a few iPhone devices for development purposes. The 4S has been a disaster. The first one had its wifi suddenly disabled (greyed out). Apparently it has some sort of temperature sensor for the wifi unit, (which only got enabled with iOS 6 or so IIRC) that tends to malfunction and disable the wifi. The following two units eventually had the same thing happen to them. Of course I had to pay for them because I was out of warranty. It is a quite widespread issue judging from the numerous forum posts, but
    • > That's like Sears.

      WOW. Sears actually has crappy customer service!?

      That sucks.

      And here I thought this Sears joke my brother sent me was exaggerating ...

      We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a 'large' enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said "We had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower."

      He shook his head and said, "Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower."

      I responded that "1/2 was larger than 1/4"

      "NO, it's not. Four is larger than two."

      We haven't used Sears repair since.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

      I like the UK system. The law says that goods must be of "reasonable quality" and "last a reasonable length of time". What is reasonable depends on the product. For a mid range TV five years would be reasonable, so if it dies before then you have a few options. You could ask for a refund or exchange, or the retailer might offer a partial refund based on (purchase price / reasonable lifespan) * number of years it was working.

      The best part is that the retailer is the one responsible, so they can't just say "t

      • You could ask for a refund or exchange, or the retailer might offer a partial refund based on (purchase price / reasonable lifespan) * number of years it was working.

        Here in California, you can [theoretically] take a product covered by warranty in and get it replaced on the spot. But Sears in particular has an answer for that, too. They just change the model number for the next year! Now it's a new product, and they're not obligated to hand it to you. That way, the worst they're on the hook for is a refund. Meanwhile, the prices have increased, so they're going to get some money out of your wallet even on a warranty replacement. Or, they won't have the same-with-new-num

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      If you think they are sleazier then you are nuts.

      Dell is more sleazy, Lenovo is as sleazy.. etc...

      All of them are sleazy as hell in the USA. It's the american thing to do.

    • The author cites as background for his grievances a 15 year old computer that Apple once produced and .... a Sears air conditioner. A. Freaking. Air conditioner.
      The author, who in my mind is now being referred to as Mr. Dunning Kruger, then goes on to display his extensive legal knowledge by proclaiming "f you make your warranty claim before the period expires, though, they don't have a legal leg to stand on" without of course any awareness of various state's (or Federal) statute of limitations laws on b
    • Those complaints continued for well over three yearsâ"outside of the warranty window even if you bought AppleCare,

      That's like Sears. Bought a window AC from them, failed inside the 1 year warranty. They drug the replacement process out for so long that the warranty expired, then they tried to claim that since it was now out of warranty, they had deleted all information on the claim and they wouldn't cover it. Took many hours on the phone to even get the unit replaced with an inferior model, spent says in over-100 temps with no AC as a result. Now I sincerely hope Sears goes out of business. Petty? Too bad.

      If you make your warranty claim before the period expires, though, they don't have a legal leg to stand on.

      This is not Apple's first epic hardware failure. The one by which I've been personally bitten is the B&W G3 data corruption bug. Rev.1 used a CMD IDE controller which sucked, and which Apple implemented very poorly. Works okay in the Ultrasparc 5, causes data corruption with most UDMA devices in the B&W G3 mac. Apple's solution was either spend more money on FWB toolkit (a third party utility) or spend more money on a PCI IDE card, which due to the apple tax was $100 back when exactly the same card with a different rom was sold for the PC for $20. No logic board replacements. When they folded the old TechInfo Library (TIL) into the modern Knowledge Base (KB) they got both older and newer articles than the one in which they described this problem, because Apple would like you to forget both that they make crap and that they will leave you twisting in the wind even when they know it was their fault and their products are not suitable for their described purpose.

      Apple is different from other OEMs only in that it is sleazier.

      Is sleazier mean lack of ethics?

  • ...You're a gentleman, sir.
    • Re:Mr Apple... (Score:5, Informative)

      by radio4fan ( 304271 ) on Friday February 20, 2015 @10:52AM (#49094565)

      Not now he's bloody not.

      I used to run an Apple dealership, and back in those days (90s) stuff like this would have been the subject of a warranty extension program right away. I don't know when the policy changed, but it has clearly changed.

      They've been denying this is a manufacturing flaw since it first became obvious. I've had the motherboard replaced on mine, and it failed again within a year. I've been getting by by using gfxCardStatus to select the intel video for a couple of months while I decided what to do.

      I wasn't able to claim under European consumer laws as my proof of purchase is made out to my company (it only covers individual consumers, not business purchasers).

      I'm really doubtful I'm going to get another Mac, even though I've been a Mac user for over 20 years. I'll probably just go for Linux and run OSX in a VM so I can run the iOS simulator.

      I also have little faith that the new motherboard is going to work for any length of time.

      • by azav ( 469988 )

        I really like your OS X in a VM on LInux approach.

        Honestly, I HATE Jony Ive's influence on the new UIs. They are terrible in clarity and readability when compared to 10.6.8 and iOS 5.

        Seriously.

      • Running OS X in a VM is easy if you do it right, at least it was for me. In my experience, trying to get it to run on VirtualBox was pure hell, but getting it to run in a VMware product is pretty easy if you use this [insanelymac.com] (this is the newest version for the latest versions of VMware products; there's an older one by the same guy if you're running an older VMware product).
  • by Anonymous Coward

    It needs a lawsuit for companies to do what they should, and some people even worship those companies, as if they were anything else than money to them

    • Well said, and that is precisely why I try to avoid becoming a fanboy of any companies. Me giving them money for a great product should be the only "thank you" that is needed.
  • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday February 20, 2015 @09:00AM (#49094073)

    From the smug "genius" who tried to blame the owner for the problem, who kept asking if they had dropped it, who insisted that Apple just doesn't make faulty products.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      From the smug "genius" who tried to blame the owner for the problem, who kept asking if they had dropped it, who insisted that Apple just doesn't make faulty products.

      You're supposed to drop it: [wikipedia.org]

      Many Apple IIIs were thought to have failed due to their inability to properly dissipate heat. inCider stated in 1986 that "Heat has always been a formidable enemy of the Apple ///",[12] and some users reported that their Apple IIIs became so hot that the chips started dislodging from the board, causing the screen to display garbled data or their disk to come out of the slot "melted". BYTE wrote, "the integrated circuits tended to wander out of their sockets".[11] The fix Apple suggested in a technical bulletin was to lift the Apple III off the desk until it was three inches in the air and then drop it, repeating the procedure until the symptoms disappeared. While the fix was quite effective, many purchasers found the process alarming.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The problem is reportedly due to switchover go greener lead-free solder, resulting in cold solder joints which happened before the 2011 MBP ...but that was a breakthrough year for Mac and so there were far more complaints from those users than those from 2008-2010 and, after all, 5-7 years "is like forever" [T Cook], never mind that we're talking about solid state devices that should last virtually forever. Apple has closer to $200B in cash and is in a position to fix any laptop it ever made that has cold s

    • The RoHS Directive [wikipedia.org] came into force in early 2003 and was required since 2006 and on. Apple had a good 4+ years to work with lead-free solder (well, not Apple but Foxconn) and apparently did so with great results for half a decade before the computers being affected. It's probably NOT a manufacturing defect, but a design defect - given that the manufacturing process has been solid for quite a while prior to this issue creeping up.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Repair is coming a bit late for these long-suffering Apple customers. The first machines to suffer this problem are now four years old. Rather than make expensive repairs to those aging machine, Apple should offer these people a heavily discounted replacement with the Mac of their choice. And that large discount should take into account all the troubles they've gone through.

    Another poster compared Apple to Sears. That's unfair. Apple's behavior is nothing like that in the 1970s that lead once-respectable Se

    • by azav ( 469988 )

      And I already had to pay over 500 bucks to have this fixed.

      • Mine failed at the end of last month and I repaired it (myself) a couple weeks ago. You know, I have mixed feeling about this. I mean, I can do the repair in an hour if it fails again, which is much better than Apple's 2+ weeks turnaround; on the other hand, I shouldn't have to.
    • They may be aging, but any machine that was high-end 4 years ago is still adequate today. And what of the owners of 17" models? I'm so glad I was able to self-repair mine, because Apple does not offer a viable replacement for these machines. Period.

      Of course, before I attempted the repair, I did run out and buy a new Retina model, since I needed a working machine within the hour (and I'm a 5min walk from an Apple store, so that's actually doable for me). While it is, in many ways, a better machine than th
  • by Thumper_SVX ( 239525 ) on Friday February 20, 2015 @09:32AM (#49094215) Homepage

    I've been burned by Apple one too many times now. I've been affected by manufacturing "difficulties" on every Apple product I've owned in the last 10 years with the exception of one; a 13" Macbook Pro that I only owned for 6 months because it was.. well.. crap. The "Pro" label was definitely an affectation rather than a true calling. I had a first-gen MBP that had the "squealing CPU" problem that Apple refused to acknowledge either... but they eventually relented and replaced the system board for one that squealed only slightly less. I've also had GPUs that just went completely tits up requiring a system board replacement... I'm probably forgetting a lot of the problems now, but the most reliable Macs I ever had weren't built by Apple.

    And in fact my 2011 15" MBP just happens to be at a third party repair right now to not just fix the problem but actually replace the lead-free solder balls with the real stuff... so mine won't fail again. But I don't care. It's possible it might go to my son or it might go on eBay when it comes back.

    My new platform of choice is an Alienware 15 running Windows 8.1, with an Ubuntu install I might also use when there's some support for the 970m GPU in here. I have a Surface Pro as well and it's great. Much as I used to despise Windows I find myself back in the Windows world because competition here is good. As a result, products either work or people go elsewhere; you don't have that option with Apple so they really don't care when their manufacturing processes fail miserably.

    I have already voted with my wallet here. I've had enough of beta-testing gorgeous but fundamentally flawed products and defending them to my friends. Besides which, the operating system in which you function no longer matters; it's the applications that matter. It used to be that the best creative applications were on Mac, the best games were on Windows. Well guess what... the best games are STILL on Windows, but the best creative apps are available on both. And the fact that from my perspective OSX has become drastically slower every release since about Leopard is just the icing on the cake for me. Under Windows 8.1 my applications launch... and run... and my system rarely has any appreciable slowdowns. OSX occasionally just decides "Oh hey... yeah I know you asked me to do something but I'm busy over here doing some random and unrequested task to send your personal information back to Apple so you're going to have to wait. My manufacturer's data mining is more important than you."

    Screw Apple. I'm done with them.

    • I've also had GPUs that just went completely tits up requiring a system board replacement... I'm probably forgetting a lot of the problems now, but the most reliable Macs I ever had weren't built by Apple.

      That one probably wasn't Apple's fault. Apple issued a recall for certain MBPs because Nvidia managed to screw up the packaging of the Geforce 8600M GT so badly that the thermal stress of running caused the chip to slowly break itself apart.

      Not that Apple is free of sin. I had an iBook with a power jack that liked to desolder itself and my current MBP has an Nvidia GPU and Yosemite, which is an explosive combination due to Yosemite's Nvidia GPU driver being unstable when switching between the Intel GPU an

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've got a mid-2010 MBP (15-inch) that will suddenly power off and then back on (sometimes twice in a cycle) with no real rhyme or reason. Can any /.'s make a guess as to (a) whether it's the same issue, and (b) if I should bother taking it to an Apple store? I've replaced the RAM and hard drive (1TB hybrid), but those were replaced long ago and I never had a problem.

    • ram battery
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      The crap Lead free solder is cracking. full disassembly and put the motherboard in a reflow oven and it should be good for a while longer.
      Blame california for the crap solder we all now have to tolerate.

      • Blame california for the crap solder we all now have to tolerate.

        Due, RoHS is not a california thing. It's a whole world thing. It's not the world's fault that some lames used a lame socket that's lame.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I've got a mid 2010 MBP with the same issue as in the fine article (scrambled screen.) I suspect the problem affects more than just the 2011 models, but just less commonly.

  • In related new, they're approximated at 6th place in defect rates behind ASUS, MSI, Toshiba, Samsung, and Sony laptops.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    They had a 'recall' for the mid-2011 imacs but I found they made the requirements so restrictive that they would not repair many models displaying failed ATI GPU's.

    Their process was "we have a diag disk, and it must say failed" or they would not replace it. Of course the failure mode was dependent on heat etc..so at the store it would pass just fine, but using it at home.....fail, white screen, no display etc..

  • What I need to know is if they will reimburse those of us who have already had to pay 500 bucks for this problem!

  • by ashpool7 ( 18172 ) on Friday February 20, 2015 @11:25AM (#49094845) Homepage Journal

    "Apple is contacting customers who paid for a repair either though Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider to arrange reimbursement."

    They're going to cut a check to apologize. Who does that?

  • Has Apple actually fixed the defect? Or are they just going to replace people's logic boards with logic boards that still have the design flaw and will fail within a few weeks/months? That's what Apple has been doing already for people with Apple Care or people who were willing to pay to have the problem fixed - they just replaced the logic board with a refurbed logic board, and the refurb would inevitably fail with the same problem. A lot of people went back to Apple 3 or 4 times to get the logic board
  • GPU is nVidia 320m I have several dozen screenshots of the problem. Yes, saving the screen to PDF or PNG actually shows the scrambled graphics as is. It only happens after severe overheats and is easily corrected with a simple restart of the affected app (game) a full system reboot is not required.

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